What were they thinking?

June 29, 2021

Like Arnie, terrible movie remakes and shocking trends, Covid is back. Do we even have to say it?

It’s Ba…ack

All we know is we’re depressed again, so it’s time to lighten up. This post may induce laughter, you’ll also learn a thing or two about business.
In this post we explore products that flopped momentously, and make us say, ‘Seriously! No way!’

Let’s get started with 5 monumental flops in no particular order. You decide the winner.

Twitter Peek

Founded in 2007, Peek sold devices deemed to be uncomplicated in a world where smart phones were gaining traction, after the release of iPhone in 2007. Smart phone manufacturers were trying to include access to emails and social media platforms on one device, while Peek decided there was a market for two separate devices and for a time there was. This didn’t last, though.

What they did in 2009 boggles the mind. They released the Twitter Peek. A separate device that looked like a Blackberry except it just sent and receive tweets, yip that’s it. That is not the worst of it. It cost R800, a lot in 2009 and then monthly would cost you R64 or R1600 for a lifetime subscription. Oh Yay! Let’s not forget that didn’t include mobile data costs. As they say in the classics, “that will not last” and it didn’t. By 2010, it ceased to exist.
The business lesson here, it didn’t solve any problem it actually created them.


This and last decade TV sizes ballooned and prices dropped radically. If you’ve wondered why television prices keep dropping, check out this YouTube link. Along with ballooning sizes technologies changed for the better, from LCD to LED to 4K and now 8K.
One TV technology that flopped though, 3D TV. As with the Twitter Peek, 3D TV created more problems than it solved. Businesses and inventions need to solve problems – remember that when you’re in class or opening a business of your own.
Problems: first, you have to wear 3D glasses to watch, expensive and not usable for other brand 3D TVs. What about millions that already wear glasses? Second, expensive Blue Ray players and Blue Ray discs and third studios not producing enough 3D movies.
After the incredible success of the film Avatar manufacturers brought 3D TV into our homes in 2010 and most had stopped manufacture by 2016.


The best recipes are passed down from generation to generation. Some are hundreds of years old. The formula for Coca Cola, the world’s most popular cold drink, is no different. After 99 years the company decided to change it.
On the 23rd of April 1985 the 46th most valuable company on earth decided to introduce new Coke to the world. A sweeter version of the original formula. This is considered by the majority of marketing experts to be the largest blunder in corporate history.
Less than 2 months later, the company was fielding 1500 calls a day compared with 400 prior to the release of new coke. Coke drinkers held Coke employees responsible for the change including those as unconnected as security personnel. Coke drinkers were passionate and no one, not even Coca Cola messed with their favourite drink. Bear in mind that in the late 1980s cold drink consumption was higher than water, there were many annoyed people.
The Society for the “Preservation of the Real Thing” and “Old Cola Drinkers of America” claimed to have recruited 100 000 people to demand the return of the original. By July Coca Cola admitted defeat and brought back the original, Classic Coke.


The 1980s bought a slew of anti-smoking campaigns and lawsuits against Tobacco companies. RJ Reynolds, currently America’s second largest Tobacco Company, released a smokeless cigarette in 1988.
Four months later, after spending over R650 million, the smokeless cigarette was no longer. This was due mainly to its terrible taste and smell. The downfall was a case of word-of-mouth: one person tells two and so on.

New flavoured lip ice … really?

As the saying goes, stick to your knitting or remain focussed on what you know best. Cheetos a successful snack for 60 years in the US, can be compared in South Africa to Cheese Curls.
Think about this for a minute. If we asked you what flavour lip Ice you liked best, chances are you would say raspberry, strawberry or peppermint. How about Cheese Curl flavour? We can hear echoes of ‘gross’.
That’s exactly what Frito-Lay did in 2005 when they introduced Cheetos lip ice, yip seriously. If they had just done the research, they would have known from the moment it released, it naturally failed to sell.

Wrap Up

Hope you enjoyed reading this and it at least made you smile or laugh even a little. Our favourite is the Cheetos lip balm, what’s yours?

Join hundreds of other students who enjoy our comfortable and modern accommodation. Also take time to relax and enjoy life in between your studies. Reach out to friends, go out and breathe the fresh air, exercise and revitalise yourself. Anything you need help with? We’re here to help, just reach out to The Fields.

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